I remember where I was and what I was doing nine years (and one day) ago today. Late at night on August 28th, I was visiting grandparents in Connecticut. We were all watching a double-header between the Yankees and Red Sox. Actually, we were flipping between that and coverage of this massive storm that would make landfall the following morning.
Usually my blog posts are full of statistical research and meteorological analysis, but this one can't be. It's to show that no matter how far displaced you may be from something, it can still stay with you.
I've read posts from colleagues about how they were down in the affected areas covering the storm, and their stories are powerful. Some of these meteorologists would travel down to the Gulf States to help their sister stations in an effort to keep folks safe. And that's what it's all about...keeping viewers safe if severe weather is imminent.
While I was sitting in my grandparents' living room, I still had no idea at the age of 13 that I was going to get into this field. (I was going to be a world-famous drummer, right?) I'm glad I didn't become that world-famous drummer. I'm glad to be a part of the StormTrack 5 team. That doesn't mean, though, that we root for storms. We root for people. We track the storms.
Did Katrina's structure look fascinating from a satellite image? Sure, but that's it. At the ground level, Katrina was very far from fascinating. While I don't have a first-hand account, the stories I've heard over the past 24 hours have been very powerful.
There are reasons why this storm's name has been retired. Just a handful of those reasons are listed in the graphic at the heading of this post. If you were to hear a name like Katrina pop up again, panic would ensue.
It would be a dis-service for a forecaster of any kind to compare present storms to prior disasters without sufficient knowledge. If you're a meteorologist for the right reasons, you're doing it because you want to help people in times where the elements of nature may be dangerous. Don't root for storms of any kind, meteorologist or not.
While there may still be some lingering issues in New Orleans nine years after the fact, it is encouraging to read articles about its growth since Katrina hit. Even though it didn't directly affect us on the home-front, you probably still remember where you were that day.
Where were you when Katrina hit?
---Meteorologist Chris Michaels---
Facebook: Chris Michaels WCYB
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